MCO could cause economic standstill

Datuk Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING: The implementation of movement control order (MCO) will cause a standstill in the state’s economy, opined economist Datuk Dr Madeline Berma.

“When the government implemented the MCO last year, it greatly affected the Malaysian economy as a whole.

“It resulted in an economic standstill where both the production and consumption were affected,” she said.

She revealed that if the state decides to implement the MCO, all the production sites would need to stop.

“A total lockdown would mean that the production industry would need to stop operating to adhere to the decision made by the government.

“In addition, the consumption side of the economy would also need to be stopped completely as consumers are unable to go out to shop, buy their necessities, or do any form of consumption activities,” she said.

Meanwhile, she also mentioned that the employment rate in the state would also be affected if MCO were to be imposed.

“As it happened before, a lot of employees will be laid off and the government then would have to introduce a new policy that will ensure sufficient physical stimulus packages to sustain the people’s livelihood and the economy.

“They (the government) would also need to find a way to revive the economy. This would be very costly for the government,” she explained.

Madeline opined that the government should instead implement selective movement control where only the high-risk areas in the state are involved.

“In some rural areas, Covid-19 cases are not as prevalent as the urban areas. Thus, MCO is not needed in such places.

“The government has to be selective in terms of divisional travels as they would need to be specific on which areas are restricted to travel to or from and which areas are not,” she added.

She also pointed out that there is a lot of data that can be revised by the government on matters involving the economy.

Hence, the government should make use of the data and carefully plan for the good of both the people and the state economy.